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Ian Williams wins Monsoon Cup

by Lynn Fitzpatrick Sail-World USA Editor on 2 Dec 2007
Team Pindar in action - Monsoon Cup 2007 Sail-World.com /AUS http://www.sail-world.com
The Malaysian kettle drums thundered as Ian Williams and Team Pindar – Bill Hardesty, Mark Williams, Mark Nicholls and Simon Shaw paraded from the dock to the awards podium after winning the final match of the Monsoon Cup in Terengganu, Malaysia by defeating immediate past World Champion, Dato’ Peter Gilmour.

Team Pindar was awarded the Monsoon Cup and their purse in front of thousands of spectators and media cameras. Peter Gilmour’s team including Yashuhiro Yaji, Christian Scherrer, Kazuhiko Sofuku and Rod Dawson claimed second prize and Bjorn Hansen’s Team Apport.Net with Magnus Woxen, Karl Kjerstadius, Martin Stromberg and Gustav Tempelman marched up on stage to received the third place prize from the Minister of Terengganu.

Right on the heels of the Monsoon Cup awards, ISAF Vice President, David Kellett presented medals to the 2006/2007 World Champion Team, the runners up and the third place team.

Paolo Cian and Team Shosholoza – Pierluigi Fornelli, Antar Vigna, Pierluigi De Felice and Nando Colninno bowed for their third place medals. Mathieu Richard and his Saba Sailing Team – Yannick Simon, Olivier Herledant, Greg Evrard and Thierry Briend proudly accepted their medals for second from Kellett.

Team Pindar stole the show once more when they were awarded their gold medals and the Wedgwood World Match Racing Championship trophy for their winning performance over a grueling and close 15-stage, 18-month series. Ian Williams achieved his goal after turning professional only two years ago. He claimed the World Match Racing Championship title for Britain.

Regatta organizer, Skip Lisseman, congratulated all of the teams and said, 'All of Malaysia should be proud, especially after they have just hosted the best match racing event in the world, right here in Malaysia.'

How the Day’s Events Unfolded

His and Her Majesty, the Prime Minister, other dignitaries and James Ingram stole the show at Saturday’s evening’s Pride Charity Gala Dinner for breast cancer awareness. The wind was blowing during the evening’s festivities, but slept in this morning. The initial race of the knockout round of the Monsoon Cup was sailed in a light and shifty onshore breeze with lots of holes on the playing field.

After Torvar Mirsky’s Racing Team handed Adam Minoprio’s BlackMatch Racing Team a loss in the first race of the knock out round, a light air drifter, racing was postponed for about a half hour and the sea breeze filled in.

Three very close races followed, and the upshot was that the two young teams from Western Australia and New Zealand defeated the number 1 ranked ISAF match racing skipper and an America’s Cup skipper. The young skippers, who are already ranked among the top 100 match racers in the world, are sure to see their rankings improve.

For Mirsky, who went into the Monsoon Cup with a 10th place ISAF ranking, the ascent will be a bit more gradual than for Minoprio.

Both teams have been together for at least a year and have won multiple invitations over the years to the Warren Jones Regatta, a prestigious invitational match racing regatta for sailors under 25 years of age, held in Perth, Western Australia each February.

Petit Final – Stage Five of the Monsoon Cup

Paolo Cian must have had a few cups of espresso deluxe before the petit final of the Monsoon Cup. Cian took a pre-start penalty flag and went on the attack during the first race. It wasn’t until the last weather mark that Hansen had to swallow an unforced error, for hitting the mark that the penalty situation evened up. Despite aggressive downwind maneuvering, Cian could not scramble back.

The teams were evenly matched in the second race with Cian playing the left down low and working right at the top. The teams were so closely matched that when Cian left the door open for Hansen to get greedy and try to go inside at the bottom mark without rights, Hansen tried. Hansen was immediately slapped with a penalty that had to be cleared immediately. The turn put Hansen in recovery mode for the rest of the race. His recovery never materialized.

Bjorn Hansen and Paolo Cian had an exciting final race and stayed within two boat lengths of each other throughout their race for third place in the Monsoon Cup. Paolo Cian was overlapped with Bjorn Hansen at the finish, but it just wasn’t enough. Bjorn Hansen took third place in the Monsoon Cup and Cian and Team Shosholosa were fourth. Cian’s Team Shosholosa also claimed the World Match Racing Tour’s third place trophy for his finish in the Petit Final.

Final

As regatta consultant, Dato’ Peter Gilmour has been at the Heritage Bay Club Marina and Resort contemplating the venue and sailing in event feeder regattas, such as the Coronation Cup, more than anyone else. The fleet of Foundation 36’s came Western Australia.

While he had great boat handling, Ian Williams out maneuvered him in some close pre-start and mark rounding situations in the later flights and took wins in the third and fourth flights to take home all of the goodies at the regatta – the World Match Race Tour World Championship Trophy, the Monsoon Cup and the largest portion of the world’s richest sailing event.

Team Pindar – Ian Williams, Bill Hardesty, Mark Nicholls, Mark Williams and Simon Shaw, who had some unfortunate breaks in during the Round Robin and eked into the quarterfinals, wiped the slate clean and knocked off all of their opponents to prove that they are the definitive world match racing champions.

Williams graciously thanked the organizers, particularly Dato’ Peter Gilmour, for putting on a tremendous show at the Heritage Bay Club in Terengganu, Malaysia.

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